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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Italy Series at ItalianPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Italian holidays and observances. I’m Becky, and you're listening to Season 1 Lesson 4, Carnival.
Do you like masquerades? If you do, I recommend you visit Italy during the Carnival season in winter!
Carnival is linked to the Christian religion and is celebrated before the long fasting period of Lent. The festival lasts for a week.
During Carnival you’re allowed to eat as much as you want, and, so long as you're wearing a mask, you're allowed to break any number of rules. In this lesson you’ll learn how Carnival is celebrated in Italy.
Now, before we go into more detail, we’ve got a question for you. Do you know why more than 300,000 kilograms of oranges are brought into the city of Ivrea, in the province of Turin, during Carnival every year?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
Today in Italy Carnival is primarily a festival for children, but originally it was a festival for adults. During Carnival it was possible to break the rules and do everything that is normally prohibited during the rest of the year. This is where the custom of the masquerade originates—so those who break the rules can’t be recognized.
The typical dishes of Carnival are sweets, one of the most popular being the chiacchiere made of sugar-coated fried pastry.
In Italy, there are various mask traditions that began many centuries ago and are well-known all over the world today.
Among the most famous are Arlecchino a mask from Bergamo, and Pulcinella, a typical mask of Naples. Both Arlecchino and Pulcinella represent clever servants, always ready to play a joke on their master. Both of these masked men are the symbols of revenge servants might seek on their masters.
Even though Carnival takes place in winter, there are many events that are held outdoors. Italians, both adults and children, are very fond of attending the parades of allegorical wagons, which are huge papier-mâché floats taking the form of traditional masked men or ironic depictions of famous public figures.
However, the Carnival of Venice may be the most famous, because of its particular beauty and the sophistication of its masked men. It’s so famous that nearly everyone has seen a picture of it at least once.
In Italian, it’s said that "anything goes during Carnival," so on those days everyone should be careful because no one is excluded from mischief!
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know why more than 300,000 kilograms of oranges are brought into the city of Ivrea, in the province of Turin, during Carnival?
It’s because one of the rituals of Carnival is the battle of the oranges, or Battaglia delle Arance and the participants throw oranges at each other!
Well listeners, how was this lesson? Did you learn something new?
Is there a tradition of wearing unusual masks in your country too?
Leave a comment telling us at ItalianPod101.com!
See you next time!